It Just Got a Little Bit Harder for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

There are over 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, representing about a quarter of the population and placing a huge strain on communities and the threatening the delicate sectarian balance in the country. As of today, it will be much harder for Syrian refugees to cross the border to Lebanon. “Previously, travel between the two countries was largely unrestricted, but now Syrians will have to obtain a visa. It is the latest in a series of steps to stop the influx of refugees. Lebanon already hosts more than a million. It is unclear what the rule will mean for the many Syrians already in the country and not registered as refugees. Before now, Syrians could stay in Lebanon for up to six months automatically. Under the new measure, Syrians wanting to enter Lebanon will have to fulfil certain criteria in order to be granted a visa at the border.” (BBC

10 Stories That Will Drive the Global Agenda in 2015.  A Year-in-Preview for the Discerning Global Set:  (UN Dispatch

Unfortunate Statistic of the Day: According to the latest figures issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, last year saw a total of 12,282 Iraqis killed and another 23,126 injured, registering as the worst outburst of violence experienced by the country since the 2006-2007 biennium. (UN News Center

Meet the new Head of the UN’s Mission for Emergency Ebola Response, UNMEER, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed of Mauritania. He took over from Tony Banbury of the UK. (UN News Center


A British nurse with Ebola was fighting for her life Sunday as two health workers, who also spent time in Sierra Leone, were placed under observation in the US and Germany. (AFP

At least six United Nations peacekeepers were wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in northern Mali on Sunday, the U.N. mission in Mali said. (VOA

At least one person was killed and several others were injured on Sunday when a six-storey residential building collapsed in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, officials said. (AFP

A suicide car bomber in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu killed at least four people. (VOA

The top U.N. envoy to Somalia says U.S. airstrikes and major ground offensives by pro-government forces have led to the liberation of nearly 20 Somali towns from al-Shabab militants and have brought the country closer to full federal control. (VOA

At least six civilians have died in fighting in South Sudan in the past two days, rebels said, and both rebels and the government accused one another of planning a return to full-blown conflict after a lull in the rainy season. (Reuters

Ending the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history is a difficult task, but it is “within our reach”, the UN’s new mission chief on the disease said, warning that the world has no choice but to beat back the infection. (AFP


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Sunday that he intends to resubmit again a draft resolution to the UN Security Council to schedule an end to the Israeli occupation until 2017. (Xinhua

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Sunday, met with top officials, telling them his country is determined to provide support to Iraq in its fight against terrorism. (VOA

Western news reports say masked gunmen in Libya have kidnapped 20 Egyptian Coptic Christian workers in recent days, including 13 people abducted from a residential compound in the coastal city of Sirte. (VOA

Israeli forces have detained three Islamic State-inspired militants in the occupied West Bank, the first known Palestinian cell linked to the Syria- and Iraq-based insurgent group, the Shin Bet internal security service said on Sunday. (Reuters


Children are bearing the brunt of the drought in Tharparkar, Pakistan often the first to fall victim to diarrhoea and pneumonia brought on by malnutrition. (IPS

International aid was meant to transform Afghanistan’s welfare standards, but orphanages in Kabul reveal that the most vulnerable children, many left parentless by war, have seen little benefit from the billions of dollars spent. (AFP

The Americas

Mexican authorities investigating the disappearance of 43 student teachers in Guerrero state have arrested a further 10 municipal police officers. Around 90 people in total, including 58 police officer, have been detained so far. (BBC

A Cuban migrant drowned after a makeshift vessel with four passengers overturned in rough seas off the Cayman Islands on Saturday afternoon, local officials said. (Reuters

Seizures of methamphetamine soared at the US-Mexico border during fiscal year 2014, accelerating a trend that began several years ago as new laws that limited access to the drug’s chemical ingredients made it harder to manufacture it in the U.S. (AP


10 Stories That Will Drive the Global Agenda in 2015 (UN Dispatch

An un-Humanosphere end of the year list (Humanosphere

Why don’t more moderate Muslims denounce extremism? (The Washington Post

The problem with bottom up approaches to development (Waylaid Dialectic

How to hunt a virus: 5 ways polio is helping fight Ebola (UNICEF Connect

Is International Criminal Justice Coming to South Sudan? (Justice in Conflict

More Evidence of The Effects of Unconditional Direct Cash Transfers (An Africanist Perspective

An Experiment in Crowdsourced Coup Forecasting (Dart-Throwing Chimp

What has changed in humanitarian responses since the 2004 tsunami? (ODI

A Failed Coup Attempt (and Forecast) in the Gambia (Dart-Throwing Chimp

Forget the Big Mac Index, check out the Quesadilla Index! (Cherokee Gothic